Dave Wyndorf got fat.
The last time I saw a picture of him, he looked something like this:
I assumed he still looked like this, subsequent to his 2006 overdose, seeing as how his band, Monster Magnet, released a new album in late 2007. I figured I probably seen recent pics on their myspace or something. But no.
In June 2008, he looked like this:
[Not the best shot I know... Not many photos about... More here if you're interested]
[Edit: here's another one:
Positive spin: a lot of people put on weight after kicking drugs. Kicking drugs means no more overdosing. That's a good thing. And heck, the guy turns 52 at the end of the month!
According to a message Wyndorf left on the Monster Magnet message board on 30 June 2008, the "chub" was the result of "3 years of reading and eating chocolate", and he declares he "[b]ack on track now, though! "
The significance of the above before and after shots, beyond the usual women's mag voyeurism, may be lost on non-Monster Magnet fans. But it's thrown me. Wyndorf has always been a leather clad panther. Even with the overdose and the layoff, I didn't expect to see him wearing hoodies and what look like a cross between a mumu and pirate shirt and generally frumping it up, surrounded by a band that, apart from a few more lines around the mouth and one or two tidier haircuts, looks as generic rock'n'roll as it did throughout the nineties and the first half of this decade (and numerous personnel changes).
I did detect a possible change in the tenor of his songwriting on last year's 4-Way Diablo, but I wasn't expecting this. There was too much of that old Monster Magnet swagger. I just can't picture the chubby Wyndorf delivering the line, "I got a cock made out of platinum"
(from 'Wall of Fire').
[But two lines later Wyndorf does exclaim: "I got the world's last piece of chocolate"...]
This is not a personal attack against Wyndorf - this isn't about him personally at all, it's about Wyndorf the image. From the half-gibing declaration on the inlay of MM's first full length album (It's a satanic drug thing, you wouldn't understand), the band has wedded musical substance with chemical, aural entertainment with visual. Without the image of the band, and Wyndorf especially, as rock extremists (well beyond cliche: where sex, drugs and Hawkwind covers are all), the music loses something. Those ah-huhs and aw yeahs are no longer beyond cliche, but sit squarely within its realms. Dave Wyndorf can't be a sad, chubby, and ultimately human character and continue to front the same sort of band.
He's vowed to lose the weight, and he may have already made strides. All I know for sure is this has added another element of intrigue to the shows I will be attending in Eastern Europe next month.
It's also added another slew of possible cliched rock'n'roll deaths for Wyndorf (think Elvis, think Mama Cass). One thing's for certain: when it's all over, it'll be a hell of a biography. I'm officially starting the queue for those who want to write it. (Hopefully the final chapter isn't for another few decades).